- Following earlier tests in January, Instagram is now allowing all businesses worldwide to purchase full-screen Stories ads, according to the company
- The ads can be bought through Facebook's Marketing API, Power Editor and Ads Manager self-serve tools, and can be optimized for reach. A new reach objective for ads, launched yesterday, will also roll out globally over the coming weeks.
- The new ad offerings are for Stories only and don't require businesses to bundle with ads also appearing on Facebook or the regular Instagram feed. The ads can be images or video in the vertical format, with video lengths limited to 15 seconds.
Instagram Stories, which cribs its name and user interface from Snapchat, has proven incredibly popular with users since its launch last August, quickly rising to match Snapchat's user base. The feature is so popular, in fact, that some have speculated that it's actually stymied much of Snapchat's user growth heading into the latter's initial public offering of stock, which happened yesterday.
The timing of Instagram rolling out Stories ads for all businesses likely isn't coincidental. Instagram first began testing ads for Stories back in mid-January with a group of early brands adopters including Capital One, Buick, Maybelline, Nike and Netflix.
An expansion of the tools on a wider scale happening this quickly — and right in the middle of Snap's IPO — suggests the early tests were successful and that brands were satisfied with targeting, measurement and buying options provided for the format. One of the criticisms frequently leveraged against Snapchat is that it does not provide particularly strong tools for marketers to measure their efforts on the platform.
Instagram, which is owned by social media giant Facebook, comes equipped with a far more robust set of proprietary options for brands, now including the Marketing API, Power Editor and Ads Manager, which might be more appealing for marketers than what Snap has on offer.
That these products can now be leveraged for Stories alone, and don't necessarily need to come bundled with the larger Instagram platform, signals that Facebook and Instagram have Stories top of mind as a sort of standalone product and are likely aiming to continue to give Snapchat stiff competition as it attempts to build out its value post-IPO.